Orchestra Impasse Continues, But Hope Remains
Minnesota Orchestra musicians who've been locked out for nearly a year will perform another free concert next month at the Lake Harriet Band Shell.
The concert announcement comes at a time when discussions about how to end the impasse quietly continue.
Neither orchestra management or the musicians will characterize the nature or extent of the talks, but the fact they're going on provides at least a glimmer of hope. "Those efforts are confidential and the mediator wants us to keep them confidential," says Tony Ross, principal cellist for the orchestra and a member of the negotiating committee.
The musicians have been locked out since Oct. 1 when they rejected a contract offer that called for a 30 percent pay cut. Although no firm counterproposals have been exchanged, Ross maintains some optimism. "We always have a glimmer of hope. I'm a glass half-full guy. So I hope to make great symphonic music back in Minneapolis as soon as possible."
A spokesperson for the Minnesota Orchestra was also tight-lipped about discussions going on that could lead to meaningful mediation or negotiations.
In a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, orchestra management says they want to "respect the process" now underway. "We continue to remain hopeful that we can work toward a contract that preserves the Minnesota Orchestra for the long term and that the community can afford."
The free concert at Lake Harriet will take place Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. A similar concert last year attracted 4,000 people.